Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova has been suspended one game without pay for punching Sacramento Kings forward Reggie Evans in the stomach on Wednesday, the NBA announced Friday afternoon. Ilyasova will miss the Bucks' Friday night road game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
The incident in question took place just past the midway point of the fourth quarter of Milwaukee's home game against Sacramento on Wednesday, with Ilyasova and Evans fighting for rebounding position and Ilyasova winding up doing a bit more fighting than Evans:
What exactly precipitated Ersan's bum rush remains unclear. Eric Buenning of Brew Hoop has some entertaining ideas, but only the ghostly Turk and his hirsute combatant know for sure whether the uncharacteristic aggression grew out of mounting frustration at Sacramento's big lead and physical play boiling over, or something a bit more specific.
At the time, the play resulted solely in a loose-ball foul on Ilyasova — perhaps the refs, like some observers, thought that noted simulator Evans might've embellished things a bit — but the league's disciplinary arm clearly thought otherwise after revisiting the videotape.
The Kings held onto their large advantage to score a 116-102 win over the Bucks, led by the power trio of point guard Isaiah Thomas (25 points, six assists, four steals), center DeMarcus Cousins (21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) and Rudy Gay (22 points, seven rebounds, six assists). Ilyasova finished with nine points, five rebounds and two assists in the loss, Milwaukee's league-leading (or trailing, depending upon your perspective) 48th of the season.
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Milwaukee Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo has quickly become one of the most likable, fascinating, and downright fun players in the NBA. While he's still a work in progress, the Greek Freak has displayed varied skills and a consistently high motor. While this season has been a horrific one for the NBA-worst 12-47 Bucks, the franchise at least knows that they found one player who should be a part of their plans for some time.
Antetokounmpo's success has been all the more remarkable for the fact that he had arguably the greatest adjustment to NBA life of any player in his rookie class. The 19-year-old Athens native had never played above the second-tier of Greek professional basketball, wasn't even on NBA radars until a few months before the draft, and isn't done growing.
Apparently adjusting to NBA life impacted his plan for getting to one Bucks game, too. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated profiled Antetokounmpo for this week's issue of the magazine. In reporting the piece, Mannix learned about one peculiar incident early in the season (via SLAM):
Imagine, for a moment, that you were a member of the couple who saw a 6-10 athletic marvel bounding down a Milwaukee road towards the Bradley Center. Would you stop to pick him up? Before answering the obvious "yes," consider if your car has enough room for someone of this size. I am not sure mine does.
It's telling, I think, that Antetokounmpo ran out of money because he was sending it to his family in Greece and also decided to deal with the issue by exerting physical effort to get to the game on time. This kid is thoughtful, independent, and willing to put in the work. Bucks fans have reason to cheer. Please offer Antetokounmpo a ride if you see him running down the street. He deserves it.
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Strong second halves from the young guys gave Milwaukee their 13th win of the season.
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Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal each drained five three-pointers to lead the Washington Wizards over the Milwaukee Bucks 114-107.
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